Grima – Tales of the Enchanted Woods (Naturmacht Productions)

Monday, 6th March 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

Let us not lose sight of the fact Grima are from Russia, giving them perhaps the most enticing black metal angle of them all in that they’re really from the deep woods. They’re not a bunch of suburbanites who rent a cabin then record an album when they see fit. (Enslaved does that, but Enslaved can do whatever they want.) But Grima are the genuine article, something that was realized rather quickly upon initial listens to their 2015 debut, Devotion to Lord. As it turns out, the duo of Morbius and Vilhelm have one-upped themselves on their sophomore Tales of the Enchanted Woods.

The title suggests it all: Tales of the Enchanted Woods is an album dedicated to nature and its various pleasantries. While Grima may be fundamentally black metal, the overriding use of atmosphere along with strident, if not desolate melodies gives them instant identity. Such melodies and crests carry songs like “The Moon and Its Shadows,” “Never Get Off the Trail,” and the mighty “The Shepherds of the Mountains and Plains,” where Tales reaches its rightful peak. These cuts (eight in all) are adventurous and aren’t immune to folk elements as well as extreme black metal battles. All this simply adds to a massive cauldron.

An ultimately satisfying body of work that defines atmospheric black metal at its finest, Tales of the Enchanted Woods is Grima’s invitation to the dance with the big boys of the style. Sure enough, all we had to do was go to the farthest flung regions of Siberia. Get this.